Rock Lee & His Ninja Pals

Rock Lee & His Ninja Pals

c14291a5bfcb927032d03292b2887b831339622634_fullEveryone knows what Naruto is (and if you don’t, why are you reading this blog) and, as a result of that, the wacky cast of characters that this franchise boasts. Rock Lee & His Ninja Pals is essentially a spin-off of Naruto Shippuden with the main character being – yep, you’ve guessed it – Rock Lee.

This series chronicles the life and training of Rock Lee, a ninja of the leaf village who has no natural ninja skills to speak of. Due to his lack of special techniques, he focuses solely on perfecting his physical abilities (taijutsu) and never gives up. Of course, everyone loves an underdog, which is why he has gotten his own spin-off series. The characters are drawn in the ‘chibi’ style, which contributes to the overall comedy aspect in the anime as well as making them all look downright adorable. Unlike most spin-offs, the main storyline does not follow the plot of Naruto Shippuden. Instead, the episodes are light-hearted and comical and littered with mini-skits to emphasise atmosphere and character thought processes.

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Tsundade-sama makes one thing clear in regards to the last bottle of sake.

I am a huge fan of Naruto. It was one of the first shounen mangas I got my hands on as a teen and I have been following the storyline ever since. I also keep up with the anime and the films that have been released here. It was a natural progression for me to take a look at Rock Lee & His Ninja Pals because of this, and I am so glad I did.

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Well, somebody had to say it. I doubt Neji would let anyone get away with yelling that in Naruto Shippuden.

This show is fast-paced, entertaining, nonsensical, ridiculous and, most importantly of all, absolutely hilarious. I knew after watching the first episode, which featured Rock Lee running around in a bikini in order to get a voucher for cake, that this anime was a keeper.

photo (7)After that, it was just episode after episode of silly little storylines that never failed to make me smile – and usually caused me to laugh out loud. It was great to see Lee attempt to replicate his own versions of jutsu for different scenarios. The dynamics between him, TenTen and Neji never fail to amuse me. And, of course, we see a lot more of the infamous Guy-sensei and his crazy antics.

photo 5 (3)One of the best things about Rock Lee & His Ninja Pals is that it never really takes itself seriously. The main plot of Naruto has become rather dark and heavy recently, and I found the contrast between the two animes was very refreshing. All the characters get some screen time and their already eccentric personalities are exaggerated to humorous proportions and adds an element of wry satire amidst all the slapstick ridiculousness. It was an iconic moment for me, as I travelled further into the series, to see the vengeful Sasuke and the stock and thoughtful Neji to join Lee in wearing swimwear!

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Best fake-jutsu ever?

The opening and closing tracks were some of the catchiest songs I’ve ever heard. They put me in a good mood just listening to them. With all the other animes I was watching at the time, this one really stood out to me. I felt that I had to ration it for myself because I just didn’t want it to end!

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The only drawback with this anime is that you definitely have to be watching Naruto in order to understand and appreciate most of the jokes. However, if you do watch Naruto, I honestly couldn’t recommend Rock Lee & His Ninja Pals highly enough. It’s a breath of fresh air from all the hard-hitting animes at the moment and never failed to bring the laughs.